Dec. 1, 2004

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Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s and women’s gymnastics teams will preview the 2004 season in the co-ed mixed pairs championship at 2 p.m. Sunday in St. John Arena. Ten teams of one women’s and one men’s gymnast each were randomly selected by a computer to compete in the event. The pairs will compete in three rotations, with the top seven pairs advancing to the second rotation and the top four moving to the final rotation.

10 gymnasts from both the men’s and women’s squad will be participating in an exhibition meet Sunday, gearing up for the upcoming season – David Ortiz and Kaylan Clevinger, Kerry Adderly and Karley Walak, Mike Marino and Amanda Gamby, Randy Monahan and Liz Meaney, Willie Ito and Maalika Moore, Nick Searcy and Brittany Brown, Kris Kline and Megan Flood, Ron Ferris and Jessica Rosette, Grant Osborne and Kaylin Schlecht and Cody Trobaugh and Helina Manesis.

Senior Elizabeth Meaney and senior Randy Monahan combined to win the mixed pairs championship in the intersquad event Dec. 6, 2003. The pair posted a 55.775 score to claim the championship.

The Ohio State men’s gymnastics team will be entering the 2005 season with the same rules and codes will prevailing in governing collegiate gymnastics. Usually every four years, following the Summer Olympics, competitive gymnastics experiences changes in judging for the next quadrennium, where the expectations and regulations or the “code of points” ruling gymnasts are placed at higher standards. However with the start of this quadrennium the changes have been put on hold and this season NCAA gymnastics will be using the old code.

“This year will be an unusual year,” Miles Avery, Ohio State men’s gymnastics coach, said. “Without any changes in gymnastics to the code of points, many squads will be very good this year. Parity in gymnastics will be on the rise and several teams will be in the hunt for conference and national championships. The Buckeyes as always will be one of the elite squads fighting for those same championships.”

This upcoming season will feature the talents of senior all-around leader Randy Monahan, the No. 17th gymnast in the country. As the No. 16th gymnast in the U.S., junior Ronald Ferris is expected to step up and compete on every apparatus in 2005.

Other key upperclassmen contributing to the squad include Kerry Adderly, Willie Ito, Grant Osborne and Cody Trobaugh. Both Adderly and Trobaugh are senior veterans looking to lead the team by example.

After enduring an ankle injury during the 2004 campaign, Ito is primed to perform on all six events in 2005. Osborne, a former Junior National champion, will be prepared to prove his talent on the collegiate level, while Kristopher Kline and Nicholaus Searcy also will add to the deep talent pool of OSU gymnasts. Both had tremendous summers of training, Avery said, and they too will help the Buckeyes stay ahead of the competition.

Representing one of OSU’s larger freshmen classes, Avery considers them a talented group equipped to make an immediate impact. D.J. Bucher will be a part of a talented freshman class also comprised of Pejman Ebrahimi, Mike Marino, Pedro Pineda and Jimmy Wickham.

“As a bright and talented guy, D.J. Bucher is one of our best guys and will be a natural leader,” Avery said. “We have a talented group of athletes who will keep Ohio State as one of the leaders in the Big Ten, as well as in the nation.”

In seven years under the direction of head coach Miles Avery, the Buckeyes have consistently been among the nation’s elite. Under Avery’s guidance, Ohio State has produced one NCAA title, two Big Ten titles, three NCAA all-around champions and 12 All-Americans.

Avery has garnered one national coach of the year honor (2001) and earned back-to-back Big Ten Coach of the Year awards (2001, ’02). He also was named the 2002 Central Region Coach of the Year.

After serving nine years as an assistant coach at Ohio State, Avery was named head coach in 1998. In his tenure, the Buckeyes have extended their record streak of NCAA appearances to 24.

Avery is a graduate of Temple University and has compiled a 64-18 OSU and career record.

At first glance, the 2005 Buckeyes seem to be a team with the appearance of a rebuilding year. Of the 10 competitors returning this year only three – senior Elizabeth Meaney, junior Kaylin Schlecht and sophomore Brittany Livingston – saw action as all-around competitors last season. With eight new freshmen joining the team this season and one transfer from Louisiana State – junior Brittany Brown – the Buckeyes may appear to be young and inexperienced.

However, as young they may be, newly minted head coach Carey Fagan will have many weapons to choose from in 2005, including the return of 2004 first team All-Big Ten selection senior captain Elizabeth Meaney. The Buckeyes also return solid performers including sophomore Brittany Livingston, junior Kaylin Schlecht and junior Leah Boccaccio, who will provide added depth to a the Buckeye lineup.

“This year is going to be exciting because half our team is new,” Fagan said. “We have nine newcomers including transfer Brittany Brown. Our team is making good progress in the gym, improving on every event. I think we are going to surprise a lot of teams this year.”

Leading the Buckeyes this season in almost every event will be Meaney, who is the Buckeyes’ top returning all-arounder. In 2004 she averaged a 38.910 in the all-around in nine meets. Meaney posted individual scores of 39.000 or higher in the all-around in the last five meets of the season, including the 2004 NCAA regional championships where she posted a 39.225. Meaney posted a career-high 39.450 last season against Illinois and Illinois State.

Last season Livingston averaged a 38.220 in the all-around, with a career-high 39.075 against LSU, while Schlecht averaged a 38.610 in five all-around performances, posting a personal season-high 39.025 against Penn State.

The Buckeyes have much to celebrate with their 2005 recruiting class. The five-member scholarship class will bolster an Ohio State squad.

The Ohio State freshman class features two top Florida gymnasts in Jessica Rosette and Maalika Moore-Thomas, who will provide the Buckeyes with depth as all-arounders.

Shawnee, Mo., native Kaylan Clevinger will give the Buckeyes an added boost in the all-around as well.

Karley Walek of Pequannock, N.J., will be looked upon to help Ohio State improve on vault.

Another New Jersey native, Helina Manesis will provide the Buckeyes with a spark in every event. Manesis won the state vault title in 2003.

Fagan also added Canonsburgh, Penn., product Megan Flood and Landisville Pa. native Amanda Gamby to the 2005 roster. his season.

Louisiana State University transfer Brittany Brown joins the roster as well this season. Brown, a junior, will no doubt make an impact to the Buckeye season as an all-arounder.

Carey Fagan was named Ohio State head coach in August after succeeding former head coach Larry Cox who retired in June.

A 1994 graduate of Hoover High School in North Canton, Ohio, Fagan graduated from Penn State University in 1998 with a double major in media studies and speech communications and was a four-year member of the gymnastics team.

While at Penn State, Fagan was a three-year letterwinner, serving as captain her senior year in 1998. During her collegiate career, the Nittany Lions were consistently ranked in the Top-10. She was the recipient of the “Penn State Pride” award in 1996 and 1998 for outstanding team leadership and also was a member of the “Spirit of the Lion” Academic/Athletic Honor Society in 1998 for excellence in the classroom and in the gym.

The women’s team will spend the rest of December preparing for their season-opener in a tri-meet against Maryland, Michigan and Minnesota, 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, 2005. The men’s team will gear up for their annual intersquad scrimmage, at 2 p.m. Dec. 17.